I love being a Chocolate Fairy. Not just because it’s the best job title in the world but because it’s the job I always wanted. I know some of you may think it’s a bit twee (some of you have told me the name puts you off) and that somehow it trivialises what we do or makes it less professional but to me it’s fun and above all it’s honest. I call myself a Chocolate Fairy (and we call all the women we train Chocolate Fairies) and not counsellors or coaches or leader or anything like that because my real qualification for doing this work, for running workshops, retreats and ecourses and for writing books is that I am a woman who spent years, decades, struggling with my relationship with food and my body. I tried everything and nothing I tried ever worked. I started more diets than I can remember, I invented my own, I cut things out of my diet, I tried exercising and being good, I counted calories and points and despite my best intentions and my utter desperation, more often than not I didn’t lose weight and when I did I never managed to sustain it for very long. My real qualification for doing this work is that after years of dieting I finally realised that it was the dieting that was making me fatter and fatter and so I STOPPED and found another way. With the help of some trail blazing women (Roth, Orbach, Hirshmann & Munter) and their inspiring books I stopped turning to the diet companies, the media, the celebrities and the so-called experts for the solutions and I started to be my own Guru. Once we realised that it was the diets that were failing us, not the other way round (have you read Audrey's post: Weight Watchers admits that diets doesn't work?) Audrey and I created Beyond Chocolate as much to support ourselves as anything else. Being a Chocolate Fairy was the perfect way to keep making amazing, transformational changes in my own relationship with food, empowering myself know and trust my body in a way that I had never experienced before. Being a Chocolate Fairy means that I stay motivated and inspired and above all aware. Being a Chocolate Fairy places my relationship with food (and ultimately my relationship with myself) at the heart of my life, and that has been such a precious way of continuing to explore and experiment over the past eleven years.
Being a Chocolate Fairy is about being there to support other women, not as an expert who knows better or as a teacher who imparts information but as a compassionate, kind, encouraging ally. It is the most precious privilege to run a workshop and meet the brave, honest women who come, hopeful, cautious, desperate. Sometimes they tell us, this is their last attempt, if this doesn’t work they can’t imagine where to turn or what to do and what they discover is that Beyond Chocolate offers them a real way forward. One that definitely requires effort and commitment, that generally takes time (despite being Fairies, we don’t do magic) and that is so worth the wait and the patience.
The world needs more Chocolate Fairies. Women need allies. We need women who understand, who will offer support and ideas, who know how to listen, who have a deep and well stocked tool bag and who understand what it’s like to have a tool bag and not know how to use it! Women need kindness and compassion and care. And that’s the job of a Chocolate Fairy. Wouldn’t you just love to be one?